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Ok so as I continue my search for the perfect boat, I went and looked at one today and had a few questions... Hoping someone can help with insight or guidance.

Most everything on the boat checks out, the gimbal is tight and seems good. The properller turns pretty freely, but was a bit tight. Connected the batteries and the engine hatch lifts fine, motor compartment looks clean with no signs of water damange.


1) First Question: I pulled the dip-stick to smell the oil and here's where my question comes in. The oil was a very dark black color and had the slightest smell of gas. I'm used to see oil not look so black and having a sweet smell to it. Could this just mean that it hasn't had an oil change and sat for awhile, so the oil is not in the best condition but the motor is fine? Or is this something that I should be worried about? It's a Mercury 496 mag with Bravo 1 outdrive and around 300 hours on the whole boat/engine/drive, etc. It's the original owner and he says the boat has been serviced regularly.

2) Section Question: The very front tip of the boat at the top has a smaller than a dime size chip in the gel coat. I can tell by looking that it's chipped just the surface and not the underlying fiberglass. I spoke to the owner and he said he did it but that it was just a small hit with an anchor. That said, I'm sure it can be fixed, but is this something that could potentially come back to haunt me later in the form of de-lamination or anything else?

Other than that, the interrior is pretty dirty, but I'm pretty sure all of that can be scrubbed out. No signs of any repairs to the hull or gel coat cover-ups... the hull looks straight and the small chip in the front top is the only thing on the hull. Electronics work, trailor looks pretty sound, etc. I'm totally open to honest feedback... Please help a newbie out and thank you in advance for any insight you can provide. Sorry for the novel! :confused:
 

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32 DW X-CAT
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2,271 Posts
Well I will try and help you out with your questions.

1. The smell of gas is not good it usually means blow by on the rings i.e...not sealing letting the air/fuel mixture into the crankcase. Other factors could be valve guides, bad spark plugs which aren't burning the gas off completely. If carbureted it could be several things bad fuel pressure regulator overfilling carb etc... In addition, if the engine is not run up to at least 180 degrees plus.... you get fuel dilution in the oil along with water condensation. This usually happens when owners usually boat in really small inland lakes and/or run short distances. Definitely needs further analysis.

2. On the gel coat...one chip in the bow is not bad as your description indicates it is an older boat.

I would take the boat to get it checked out.... do a leak down on the cylinders compression check etc... Take the boat to your shop of choice and/or Mercury Authorized Service center and pay for a checkup. If everything checks out you got yourself a boat. I can't see why the owner would object...if he does then something is not right.

Note: This is general advice other factors or facts can change the circumstances:).

Footnote: Around 300 hours is not accurate...have them plug into the computer and they will tell you exactly how many hours the motor has!
 

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Take the boat to a certified marine mechanic

If you bought a used car you would take it in to a mechanic for an exam
Same rules apply
 

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Slight smell of gas is no big deal, may have just been started for short times as in someone looking at it. or could be a leaking fuel pump (if carb motor) When you check oil after you pull the stick out turn it upside down and see how fast the oil goes back down the stick, that will tell if their is any dilution (fast), and if it does not move much, it is either very thick oil or in this case old very dirty oil. my bet is he has not had it serviced as much as he said, and that can be proved by the condition of the boat, clean boat most likely good up keep, dirty and unloved poor up keep. as others have said ask for receipts, take to mech and have it checked out and also have the outdrive checked also, then have him take you to the lake and see how it runs and you like before you buy it. seen plenty of people buy a boat and not lake test it and are disappointed afterwards.
 
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